Sanyo to boost investment in solar battery business

Sanyo Electric Co. will invest 2.5 billion yen in its solar power battery operations in fiscal 1997 and another 10 billion yen in the following three years, Sanyo President Yasuaki Takano said Jan. 28. Takano said the strategy will make Sanyo a leader in the field in Japan by 2000.Takano predicted that demand for such batteries for use in the home and factories will grow worldwide along with the increasing awareness concerning environmental protection and with the help of incentive measures taken by many governments to spread the use of solar energy. The firm, which says it holds roughly 30 percent of the domestic market, behind Kyocera Corp., is currently building a new plant in Los Angeles to start producing crystal-type batteries in October. Forty percent of the production will be exported to Japan and the rest will be sold in the United States, according to Takano.Sanyo will also start mass production of film-type batteries in its factory in Awajishima, Hyogo Prefecture, in October, he said. Film-type batteries are lighter than crystal-type batteries and are bendable, so they can be used in various places.